NXNE Day 3: Decades, Grounders, PEALS, Weaves & Sloan
To kick off our third night of musical conquests we made our way back to the Arts & Crafts Pop Up Venue. We both really dug the atmosphere of place and were eager to hit it at least one more time before the fest came to an end.
I was really sad that we didn’t catch more of Decades’ set. In the bit that we managed to catch I was really into it. Stylistically they span over both indie rock and dance rock genres. Their energy was awesome, particularly lead singer Mark Gallo owned the room with his charming and stage presence.
I feel like I can say that if you’re a fan of Vampire Weekend or Islands you’ll be a fan of Grounders. One guitar played in a higher register while the other laid low, while the synth playfully danced in between. The baseline took care of punctuating the melody giving it a really well defined style. They weren’t afraid to switch up timing within a song. If you get a chance to see them live I highly recommend it to experience what they’re about first hand. One thing I might criticize is if they maybe showed a little more enthusiasm. their audience may have done the same. A little do more you get more kind of approach. Sad to say I felt as though they started much stronger than they finished. They did rock a pretty solid cover of “One of These Nights” by the Eagles.
PEALS @ The Drake Underground
Another wild card band, kids. One of the coolest things I like to see at a festival is an alternative use of space. Peals did a great job of doing just that-this duo utilized the venue by setting up a corner space similar to a living/jam room. Complete with a lamp for mood lighting, rugs, a side table and a plant. This strictly instrumental duo did a stellar job engaging their audience by inviting them into their self made jam space. Their consistent transitions from one song directly into the next made their set feel like a truly intimate and emotional journey. Their ability to gracefully manipulate both keys and guitar with an elaborate pedal and amp set-up was a bit of a musical marvel to me. I’m glad I was able to have this a part of my entire NXNE experience.
Weaves @ The Blk Box
I’m a sucker for a strong female front woman. Jasmyn Burke, lead singer for Weaves had zero fucks to give when she took the stage with her incredibly animated and emotive band. Their skillful musicianship laid down a solid foundation for Burke to play on. Her vocals at some points were erratic but not in any way arbitrary; each member of this band was extremely talented in their roles which made experimenting with their sound successful. The crowd really got into it, it was fun to see everyone dancing around. I highly recommend checking these guys out.
Sloan @ The Great Hall
Yeah. We did. There’s something awesome about catching a well-seasoned band. You know that their musicianship will be strong, and confident, and that the crowd will be putty in their hands. Particularly when they can pack a place like The Great Hall on the same night every venue in the city is hosting hundreds of other bands. what can be said about a band that has been making the rounds for 20 years? Their set-list was exclusively from the their album called Smeared released in 1992. The coolest thing about ending my night here is the fact that even though The Great Hall is large and was packed for this set, there is a certain level of intimacy and comradery about it; and a legendary Canadian band is what brought it all together.